Maui Arts & Entertainment

Surf documentary reminds audiences that political conflict cannot stop surfing

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“Keep It A Secret,” a documentary by Sean Duggan, recounts the emergence of surfing in Ireland and explores how amidst political and nationalist conflict, the unwavering influence of surfing on the island could not be stopped.

“One thing that came through during my interviews was that despite the sectarianism of ‘The Troubles’ conflict, between Catholic/Protestant and British/Irish, in the water there was no religion or nationality, your identity was determined by how you surfed – nothing else mattered,” said director Sean Duggan.

Amid the turbulence brought on by the conflict in 1972, most international sporting events in Ireland were canceled due to the chaos and violence – except for the 1972 Eurosurf Championship.


A group of bold surf athletes from around the globe traveled to the coastal village of Lahinch for the largest surfing event in Europe. Surfers from both sides of divided Ireland also united by the coast and shared their love of surfing. The surfing competition putting Irish surfing on the map.

When Irish surfing started in 1968, there were about 10 surfers in all of Ireland with 2,000 miles of coastline to themselves. Today, there is a vibrant surf scene with over 20,000 surfers on the island. You will find surf schools and surf shops in most major coastal towns.

Keep It A Secret is streaming through July 31 as part of Maui Film Festival’s “Speed of Light Virtual Cinema” series.


“It is a true independent film…I poured a lot of DIY work/love into the film and I’m enormously grateful for the contributions of many talented people who helped me complete the film,” said Duggan.

Duggan took about three years to complete the film, working mostly at nights and on weekends while working his full time job in advertising sales.

“Keep It A Secret” film. Courtesy: Sean Duggan.

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